Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Art In Close-up: Y: The Last Man #21

A new arrival in the mail today- page 15 from Y:The Last Man #21.

Pencils: Goran Parlov
Inks: Jose Marzan Jr
Colours: Zylonol
Letters: Clem Robins
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan

I got this via eBay, from Jose Marzan himself. $110US, which is more than I would normally pay for art, but well, it has all the main characters on it. Plus I've been really in to Y recently. It seemed like too good an opportunity to pick up a page from a great series, with the added bonus of my money going directly to one of the artists involved. I don't mind paying a bit extra than usual to support those actually producing the stuff.

Page comparison time:

Cool panel layout.

Panel 1:

Lots of space left for a reasonably text-heavy panel. The main point of interest is the shading done by the colourist.

Panel 2:

The inking on Dr Mann's hair is quite light in many places, as if the brush (or whatever) was running out of ink. I assume it's intentional, it's quite interesting in the flesh.

Panel 3:

From the looks of it, the head outline was inked first, then the eyebrow ring was drawn in with white-out. Simple but effective panel.

Panel 4:

Panel 5:

The colourist shading makes 355 look a bit more scary. I'm a sucker for little details like eyelashes.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Resurrection Through Carnage

I got an old page from the Vigilante comic series a while back. Cool piece, but there was one part that used an overlay of tracing paper, and the glue behind it had gone yellow. It seemed like it would be easy enough to fix, I just needed to wait until I had the balls to do it.

That time is now.

Ok, so this is how it started, obviously it's a major distraction.

Time to peel it off!

There it goes, with thankfully no drama. The glue was totally dried out.

I stuck the piece onto one side of a double-sided adhesive sheet.

I cut it out, leaving a bit of wiggle room for later. At this point it's like your basic sticker.

Peeling off the second backing sheet, I put it on some high quality thick paper, so that the old glue wouldn't show through.

Time for more adhesive sheeting on the back of the paper mount.

Then the really frigging scary part of cutting it out with a knife. I couldn't use a ruler or anything, no straight lines.

Yay, still in one piece.

After a few rehersals to make sure I was going to place it correctly (was only going to get one shot at it), it was time to peel the final layer.
Hey, it actually worked!

Looks so much better now. Still a slight hint of the glue showing, since a little was on the tracing paper, but I was not going to risk trying to clean it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Firestorm Hates Captain Atom, vol. 2

Hey Ronnie, what do you think of Captain Atom?

Surely he can't be all bad, can he Ronnie?

OK, Maybe he can. Go sort him out then.

That looked easy, but look out for his... ooops, too late.

Don't listen to him Ronnie, he was only trying to show you up.

That Captain Atom sure is a jerk.

Firestorm The Flaming Headed Moron courtesy of Captain Atom #5

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Zealand Joins The Marvel Universe

Last week saw the release of the "Marvel Atlas" (#1 of 2 for those keeping count). It's your typical text-heavy guide to each country, as it fits in with Marvel continuity. Similar to publications like "The Marvel Universe", it's the kind of thing that's a cool idea and fun to flick through, but not something you'd ever sit down and read cover to cover. I normally wouldn't bother, but well, it had my country in it, so I thought it could be good for a laugh. I give you New Zealand in the Marvel universe:

Hey look, we actually have some mutants. Weeeeee.

First up, the map. Actually not a bad effort, they got the location right, except for Auckland which they missed by a hundred kilometers or so, but atleast it's close. I've seen much worse in supposedly "serious" international publications.

Pohangina is a bloody odd choice to base a character from, it's a tiny rural town. I've been there many years ago, but I'd be surprised if the average NZer could tell you where it is, or that it even exists. I wonder if someone from Marvel had actually been there, or if they just pulled it from a list of place names.

Vital statistics time:

Pretty spot on. Just please note with the armed forces, try not to attack us via the air. We have no combat aircraft anymore, and would really appreciate not being made to look stupid. Well, we do technically still have the combat aircraft, but they're shrink wrapped and in storage while we wait for permission from the US government to sell them...


Oh hey look, some international relations, how are those going?

Nothing to complain about there. Marvel had to get a bit more factual for us because there isn't really much relevant stuff happening with us in the Marvel Universe.

This part has me a bit perplexed:

"Prominent Citizens", and all they could come up with was the Prime Minister?! Really? Isn't that a bit, ummm, boring? How about any of these:
I could probably go on, but I'll stop there. If you don't know anything about our PM, trust me, you're not missing anything.

Atleast under "Domestic Crime" they went for the drug angle, which isn't really that much of a problem anyway. I mean, that's not nearly as embarrassing as our child abuse statisics, or that we're a world leader in teen suicide (maybe that doesn't fall under "crime". Lucky they didn't have a "Things That Are Crap About This Place" section).

History lesson time:

Just note from that last line about "In recent years...", that "recent" means "the last 15 years". 15 loooong years. Somebody just sort it out already.

Would've been nice if they'd mentioned a few other things, like us being the first country to let women vote. That's kinda important, right? Or how we're the best rugby team in the world, so long as you don't mention the world cup that we haven't won in 20 years... *grumble*

I still can't get over that "Prominent Citizens" bit. Helen Clark is actually in Marvel continuity now...

*shakes head*

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Random Stuff

I've got a few things to mention, but none of them are really worthy of their own post, so this is going to be an assortment.

1) I was clearing out some draws, and found this doodle among my old university notes of 10 years ago:

"Hooly Hoop". You'll only get it if you read The Maxx. From the page it was on, I came up with that during an accounting class, which does not surprise me. Booooorrring.

2) How is it that Firestorm is supposed to've joined the JLA, but he hasn't been in the last two issues (basically ever since Batman recruited him)?

3) Just got done reading the Hellblazer: Highwater trade. This opening scene was interesting:

If that's a realistic rendition of the whole white supremacist thought process, then I can actually see where they're coming from. I mean, they're all still bat-shit crazy, but I can see how if you were to read the Bible with your moron-glasses on, you could make that interpretation.

4) At the end of Highwater, there's a scene involving bats. Who should make an appearance in a broken pane of glass?

That jumped off the page at me as soon as I saw it.

5) A local music store is closing down, with 50% off everything. I picked up the 13-disc Superman movie collection. Major score, though I was a little bummed to get home and discover they didn't include Supergirl in the collection, which seems a strange ommission.

6) After not having any new Justice League Unlimited figures released here for probably the better part of a year, suddenly one of the stores gets some in. I picked up Shade and Steel, the rest of the shelf being full of lots and lots of Superman and Batman figures. I know why toy companies do that, but it's so friggin stupid. I'm not buying figures I already own, more new figures = more money from me. Stop creating an artificial collector market please.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Millennium Index Of Death

In 1987, DC released an 8-part weekly event title called Millennium. As you'd expect, it involved cross-overs with many regular titles, 37 to be precise. The following year, they put out a handy 2 issue index guide to the series and all it's crossovers. Every single character appearance in every single comic is recorded in excruciating detail.

Here's the summary for Firestorm #67

It starts off innocently enough with the usual credits you'd expect from such a thing.

Then it covers the main character, in an interesting, if slightly disturbing, amount of detail.

It's the kind of thing I could imagine doing for a character that I was totally fanatical for, but keep in mind someone had to do this for 45 comics all up.

Then it's on to the guest stars, and given the scope of the series, it's a long list.

Good to know, but now things start to get scary:

Noting character appearances between pages seems like it would've been totally frustrating. But that's not all...

Yes, something that happens in Firestorm #67, actually takes place between panels on a page in Millennium. I don't know what's worse, the idea that they planned things with this much detail in advance, or the idea that they didn't, and someone had to piece it all together after all was said and done. But we're not quite done here:

"Behind The Scenes" means literally that. The characters do not appear in Firestorm #67, but they're still included in the index, because they obviously had to be doing something while Flame-top was doing his thing. That's pretty insane. They could basically have included "The Entire World" in that entry.

"Somewhere, behind the scenes, Darkseid is up to no good"

The question of how much planning actually went in to this is raised again near the end, with this:

OOOOPPPSS! CONTINUITY BREAKDOWN! Someone forgot to tell the artist Salakk wasn't at the meeting. Bugger. Nansi Hoolahan also gets a big neon sign over her head saying "I screwed up" for colouring Salakk white. The picture of Salakk is tiny, I'm sure noone would've noticed.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Firestorm hates Captain Atom, vol. 1

I'm pretty sure Cap never did anything to deserve it, but early on, he just could not catch a break from Firestorm.

Captain Atom #2, and a few heroes weigh in on the appearance of the new Captain Atom:

Batman is Batman, nothing surprising there.

Superman is positive about him.

Hey, I wonder what Blue Beetle thinks?

OK, well nothing damning there.

What's your verdict, Firestorm?

Someone's feeling a little threatened, I think.

So stuff happens, and Cap ends up saving the President from Plastique.

Nice job. Let's go back to our hero panel and see what they thought:

Oooh, props from Batman, that's pretty good.

Superman continues to be all positive. Yay.

Blue Beetle approves. Can we make it 4 out of 4?

Ouchie! I guess not. Though Firestorm, maybe if you'd done a better job fighting her, she be in jail now and not bothering anyone else. Just a thought.